`Hill Street Blues' Creator Steven Bochco Dead at 74


`Hill Street Blues' Creator Steven Bochco Dead at 74

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Tributes were pouring in today for Steven Bochco, the writer and producer behind the iconic 1980s and '90s TV shows ``Hill Street Blues,'' ``L.A. Law'' and ``NYPD Blue,'' after Bochco's death Sunday at the age of 74.

The details of Bochco's death were not immediately clear, although he had battled leukemia in recent years and received a stem cell transplant from an anonymous 23-year-old in late 2014, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

``Steven fought cancer with strength, courage, grace and his unsurpassed sense of humor,'' spokesman Phillip Arnold told THR. ``He died peacefully in his sleep with his family close by.''

The New York Times reported that Bochco died in Pacific Palisades.

Arnold said details about a memorial service would be forthcoming.

In addition to his three most famous shows, the 10-time Emmy Award winner also was behind the Neil Patrick Harris ABC comedy-drama ``Doogie Howser, M.D.'' and the TNT drama ``Murder in the First.''

Bochco's colleagues and admirers quickly took to Twitter to mourn the prolific creator.

``It was his vision, style, taste and tenacity that made me love watching TV,'' wrote actress Sharon Lawrence, who appeared on ``NYPD Blue.''

Bob Iger, the chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, who worked with Bochco at ABC in the 1990s, tweeted: ``Steven Bochco: Today, our industry lost a visionary, a creative force, a risk taker, a witty, urbane story teller with an uncanny ability to know what the world wanted. We were long-term colleagues, and longer term friends, and I am deeply saddened.''

From Corbin Bernsen, one of the stars of ``L.A. Law'': ``I will be forever grateful to Steven Bochco for the key to the lock that opened the door to a career. At the same time he taught me more about our humanity; our faults and strengths, how they survive side by side, despite our human insistence on seeing them as opposing forces.''

From actor Ken Olin: ``I was 28, married, & the father of a baby boy when the creator of `Hill St. Blues' came to NYC to cast a show about minor league baseball. Steven Bochco gave me my first break on `Bay City Blues' and brought me to Hollywood. I'm eternally grateful to him for my career. RIP boss.''

From actress Debra Messing: ``So sad to hear of Steven Bochco's passing. He was a pioneer, a gentleman, and gave me my first job in prime time tv. Rest well, sir. You will be missed. #RIP''

And from writer/producer/director Judd Apatow: ``Steven Bochco sat with Jake Kasdan and myself before we started Freaks and Geeks and let us grill him for advice. We used all of it. He was a great man and will forever be an inspiration.''

Bochco was born in New York City, but cut his show business teeth at Universal Studios in the mid-1960s.

He wrote for television in the early 1970s, getting one of his big breaks by penning a ``Columbo'' episode directed by a young Steven Spielberg in 1971.

His enduring legacy rests on ``Hill Street Blues,'' the gritty NBC drama that offered a more nuanced and realistic portrayal of police life than American audiences were used to seeing in cop shows from the 1970s. It ran from 1981-87.

``L.A. Law'' (1986-94) and ``NYPD Blue'' (1993-2005) followed, with both shows enjoying long prime-time runs.

Not everything Bochco touched turned to gold. His 1990 show, ``Cop Rock'' -- an attempt at a police musical -- was a legendary flop.

Bochco is survived by his sister Joanna Frank, who played Sheila Brackman, the wife of Douglas Brackman Jr. -- her real-life husband Alan Rachins -- on ``L.A. Law''; Bochco's wife of 17 years, Dayna; and his children Jesse, Jeffrey and Melissa. His first wife was actress Barbara Bosson.

Photo: Getty Images


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